Unite planned a protest for today (March 6) at Tesco’s West Bromwich store – a 2 Sisters customer – between 11am and noon. But the food giant said it didn’t understand the purpose of the protest, or what it intended to achieve.
The union said it arranged the protest after 2 Sisters allegedly dismissed union representatives for successfully challenging it on breached terms and conditions. It claimed one rep had been dismissed, one assaulted, and four others suspended over an eight-week period.
It also claimed the food manufacturer had planted secret CCTV and audio recording equipment to spy on workers.
‘Tin pot managerial dictators’
Unite acting national officer Sulinder Singh said: “The view from the workers is that the company wants to maintain a quasi-slave culture on minimum terms to generate maximum profits. Unite is now engaging with customers and stakeholders to stop the march of these tin pot managerial dictators – hence the demonstration on Monday to highlight the alleged abuses.
“Unite members and reps are routinely being threatened for whistleblowing or raising food safety issues, as, we believe, there is a dangerous focus on the products leaving for dispatch at any cost. This sort of cavalier management is not the sort of professional relationship Unite expects from the biggest food company in the UK.”
But 2 Sisters denied all the claims, stating the allegations didn’t represent the reality of the situation on the ground.
2 Sisters denied the claims
A 2 Sisters spokesman said: “We note the protest planned by Unite members, but do not understand its purpose or what it is trying to achieve.
“What is factually correct is that we are undertaking disciplinary proceedings with four union colleagues at two of our West Midlands sites. These are going through the normal procedural steps, with three of them under investigation pending further hearings.
“The fourth has attended a disciplinary hearing which did not result in a dismissal. Each case is unconnected. As a defining principle, all colleagues going through such processes are treated in an impartial and fair way, regardless of union membership.”